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In the various roles he has undertaken through the years, Val J. Halamandaris has been a singular driving force behind the policy and program initiatives resulting in the recognition of home health care as a viable alternative to institutionalization. His dedication to consumer advocacy, which enhances the quality of life and dignity of those receiving home health care, merits VNA HealthCare Group’s highest recognition and deepest respect. 

VNA HealthCare Group

I have the highest respect for them, especially for the nurses, aides and therapists, who devote their lives to caring for people with disabilities, the infirm and dying Americans.  There are few more noble professions.

President Barack Obama

Home health care agencies do such a wonderful job in this country helping people to be able to remain at home and allowing them to receive services

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Chair, Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee

Home care is a combination of compassion and efficiency.  It is less expensive than institutional care...but at the same time it is a more caring, human, intimate experience, and therefore it has a greater human’s a big mistake not to try to maximize it and find ways to give people the home care option over either nursing homes, hospitals or other institutions

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (R-GA)

Medicaid covers long-term care, but only for low-income families.  And Medicare only pays for care that is connected to a hospital discharge....our health care system must cover these vital services...[and] we should promote home-based care, which most people prefer, instead of the institutional care that we emphasize now.

Former U.S. Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-CD)

We need incentives to...keep people in home health care settings...It’s dramatically less expensive than long term care.

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ)


Home care is clearly the wave of the future. It’s clearly where patients want to be cared for. I come from an ethnic family and when a member of our family is severely ill, we would never consider taking them to get institutional care. That’s true of many families for both cultural and financial reasons. If patients have a choice of where they want to be cared for, where it’s done the right way, they choose home.

Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services

A couple of years ago, I spent a little bit of time with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and its president, Val J. Halamandaris, and I was just blown away. What impressed me so much was that they talked about what they do as opposed to just the strategies of how to deal with Washington or Sacramento or Albany or whatever the case may be. Val is a fanatic about care, and it comes through in every way known to mankind. It comes through in the speakers he invites to their events; it comes through in all the stuff he shares.

Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence

Val’s home care organization brings thousands of caregivers together into a dynamic organization that provides them with valuable resources and tools to be even better in their important work. He helps them build self-esteem, which leads to self-motivation.

Mike Vance, former Dean of Disney and author of Think Out of the Box

Val is one of the greatest advocates for seniors in America. He goes beyond the call of duty every time.

Arthur S. Flemming, former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare

Val has brought the problems, the challenges, and the opportunities out in the open for everyone to look at. He is a visionary pointing the direction for us. 

Margaret (Peg) Cushman, Professor of Nursing and former President of the Visiting Nurses Association

Although Val has chosen to stay in the background, he deserves much of the credit for what was accomplished both at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, where he was closely associated with me and at the House Select Committee on Aging, where he was Congressman Claude Pepper’s senior counsel and closest advisor. He put together more hearings on the subject of aging, wrote more reports, drafted more bills, and had more influence on the direction of events than anyone before him or since.

Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Val’s most important contribution is pulling together all elements of home health care and being able to organize and energize the people involved in the industry.

Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Anyone working on health care issues in Congress knows the name Val J. Halamandaris.

Kathleen Gardner Cravedi, former Staff Director of the House Select Committee on Aging

Without your untiring support and active participation, the voices of people advocating meaningful and compassionate health care reform may not have been heard by national leaders.

Michael Sullivan, Former Executive Director, Indiana Association for Home Care

All of us have been members of many organizations and NAHC is simply the best there is. NAHC aspires to excellence in every respect; its staff has been repeatedly honored as the best in Washington; the organization lives by the highest values and has demonstrated a passionate interest in the well-being of patients and providers.

Elaine Stephens, Director of Home Care of Steward Home Care/Steward Health Systems and former NAHC C

Home care increasingly is one of the basic building blocks in the developing system of long-term care.  On both economic and recuperative bases, home health care will continue to grow as an essential service for individuals, for families and for the community as a whole.

Former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

NCOA is excited to be part of this great event and honored to have such influential award winners in the field of aging.

National Council of Aging

Health care at home…is something we need more of, not less of.  Let us make a commitment to preventive and long-term care.  Let us encourage home care as an alternative to nursing homes and give folks a little help to have their parents there.

Former President Bill Clinton

Republican Leaders Push Budget Compromise: Few Real Cuts Mandated but Aspirational Cuts Remain in the Mix

April 30, 2015 09:55 AM

Republicans who control both the House and Senate due to the November 2014 elections face their biggest test to date this week.  Will they successfully navigate the minefields in order to pass a balanced budget compromise?  Both chambers were able to narrowly pass separate bills without support from the Democratic minority.  GOP leaders in the House and Senate have been working for weeks since then to reconcile the legislation passed in their chambers.  In terms of total spending for fiscal year 2016, the bills were quite similar. Total spending was $3.789 trillion in the House bill and $3.8 trillion in the Senate bill.  Both are some $200 billion less than the $4 trillion President Obama recommended in his budget. 

Republicans in the House and Senate have now reached an agreement on which they will proceed to vote in their respective chambers.  The agreement has been both loudly praised and vociferously condemned.  Republican Leadership praised the agreement as the first since Apple introduced the iPad.  One conservative Republican said the bill was an “exercise in avoidance putting politics before principle.”  It will be a close vote to be sure but the compromise measure is expected to pass both chambers and be sent on to President Obama for his signature.

If the budget bill becomes law, it will be a major victory for the Republican Leadership, especially House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  Both leaders have announced their determination to show they have the ability to lead and get things done.  Of course, much hangs in the balance regarding their ability to work with Democrats and produce results improving the well being of the nation, the economy, and national defense.

Republicans appear likely to be successful in navigating their way through the Washington maze.  Any objective analysis will show that they accomplished this feat by avoiding the biggest battles.  For example, Congressman Paul Ryan’s idea of privatizing Medicare, which was in the House bill, was shelved in the face of strong opposition in the Senate led by Senator Susan Collins, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aging.  Other entitlement cuts were shelved.  They did agree in principle to the aspirational goal of cutting Medicare by $430 billion.  While these cuts are not mandatory, Medicare advocates have taken note of the aspirational goal and are on high alert.  The only mandatory cuts are instructions that direct relevant committees—the Senate Committees on Finance and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and the House Committees on Ways and Means, Education and the Workforce, and Energy and Commerce—identify $1 billion in savings over 10 years, a small amount relative to projected spending over the next decade.

The compromise has angered conservatives in the House who had pushed their party to take on entitlement reform.  However, the Leadership appears to have made the calculation that it can offset the loss of conservatives through support from defense hawks who received the $38 billion hike that they requested to fight terrorism, ISIL and other world threats.

House conservatives did receive the Leadership’s promise to continue working to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which Republicans refer to as Obamacare.  The compromise bill, if it passes both chambers as expected, will prepare the way for the use of a fast tract procedure called “reconciliation” that allows major bills to pass with a mere majority, 51 votes, instead of the more typical 60 votes needed to overcome a Senate filibuster. 

Political pundits are betting that Congress will avoid major cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in this and next year’s budget.  The reasons are easily explained by the politics and the mathematics: it is all about control of the U.S. Senate.  Republicans want to keep the majority in the 2016 election.  However, they have to defend 24 seats for reelection while Democrats only need to defend 10 seats.  The numbers suggest that Democrats have the edge in reclaiming control of the Senate.  The best defense for Republicans is to fulfill their promise of governing and to do so well.  It also means the party must go out of its way to avoid alienating important voting blocs.

Things always happen, however, beyond the control of either party.  For example, all eyes will be on the U.S. Supreme Court this June when it announces its decision in the case of King v. Burwell.  The Court will offer its opinion as to whether federal subsidies under the ACA can be used for participants in federal exchanges in addition to those established by a state.  If the Court strikes down the use of such subsidies, it will, in effect, deprive some 8 million people of their access to health care, which they gained through the ACA.

The betting line is the Court will vote again to sustain the ACA by ruling the subsidies legal, or vote to strike down the subsidies while giving Congress plenty of lead-time to “repair or replace” the ACA language before the Court’s ruling becomes effective.  Republicans are divided.  Some prefer outright invalidation of the law.  Others prefer the Court strike down the subsidies but give Congress time to make changes and rescue millions of people who need health care coverage.  Democrats, of course, would prefer the Supreme Court rule in favor of the status quo.

Two things are all but certain.  First, the Republican strategy will succeed or fail based on the votes in the 2016 election.  Second, the tough decisions that Congress needs to make will likely remain to be resolved at some other time.

The House is expected to vote on the budget compromise this Friday, with the Senate to follow on a day to be determined.  Please stay tuned to NAHC Report for additional details about the budget compromise.




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